Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Defense clearly far ahead of the offense

Posted by: Mark Craig under Leslie Frazier, Vikings defense, Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier Updated: August 6, 2011 - 9:56 PM

MANKATO -- Tonight's practice was further evidence that if this were an intrateam race, the defense is the thoroughbred and the offense is Festus' donkey on Gunsmoke.

In a night workout with little live action, no tackling and less hitting that was expected, the defense still stood helmet and shoulder pads above a brand new offense that's had just two days now with all of its pieces together on the field.

Nowhere was that more evident that during the blitz portion of practice early on Saturday night. Donovan McNabb went 0-for-2 with two sacks. Joe Webb, working with the second unit for the first time in three days, went 2-for-3. Christian Ponder, working with the third unit, went 1 of 2 with a sack.

In a red-zone drill, McNabb completed 2 of 4 passes, Webb 0 of 1 (although Stephen Burton dropped a touchdown on a nicely-threaded pass to the back of the end zone) and Ponder 3 of 3 with a touchdown to Manny Arceneaux.

Coach Leslie Frazier isn't ready to panic just yet. And let's face it, there's been just one week of practice for a new offense with a new coordinator, a new QB, a new left tackle and no designated No. 1 receiver. It's going to take time.

"You almost expect that early in camp," coach Leslie Frazier said of the offense lagging behind. "As our offense puts more things in, they'll catch up in that regard. But in most cases, early in camp, the defense is usually a little ahead."

Said running back Adrian Peterson: "The offense is putting in a new offense. I don't think the defense is putting in a new defense."

The players are off Sunday and return to practice at 9 a.m. Monday.





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